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FMCG price inflation falls for fifth straight quarter – at lowest level since 2010

London, Friday 20 February 2015 – Price inflation for FMCG goods across Europe has fallen for the fifth consecutive quarter and is now at its lowest level for four years according to the latest figures released today by global information and insights company Nielsen.

In the fourth quarter of 2014, FMCG sales aggregated across Europe were up 3.1% year-on-year. This growth in takings was driven by a 1.5% rise in sales volumes and just a 1.6% rise in prices paid. The last time prices rose less than 1.6% year-on-year was Q4 2010 (1.5%).

“Aggregate European retail growth is being held back by the region’s big five countries, which are not performing particularly well – they’re either in negative growth or below the European average,” says Nielsen’s European director of retail insights Jean-Jacques Vandenheede. “This is compounded by overall consumer and purchasing confidence being stuck in a type of holding pattern. People aren’t yet willing or able to spend more on FMCG items. What’s more, there’s no pattern of countries or categories doing well or badly – inconsistency across Europe seems to be the rule.”

In Q4, Turkey continued to experience, by far, the highest nominal year-on-year sales growth (+18.6%) among the 21 European countries measured, followed by Hungary (+4.9%) and Norway (+3.0%).

Of the big five western European markets, Germany (+1.3%) had the highest nominal growth, while it fell in the UK -0.3%

Greece (-5.2%) had the largest decline in nominal growth, followed by Portugal (-1.8%) and Finland       (-1.4%=red>).­

Value changes
Turkey (10.1%) was the only one of the 21 European countries measured to experience price rises above 3.0%; only a further four (Czech Republic, Austria, Netherlands and Hungary) saw prices rise above the 21-country average. Six suffered price deflation.

Volumes
Turkey (8.5%) and Norway (3.2%) saw the largest increase in sales volume. Greece (-4.0%) and Portugal (-1.4%) had the largest declines in sales volume.

Vandenheede concludes: “The final quarter of 2014 wasn’t too bad for retailers, and historically low prices mean there should be some light at the end of the tunnel for Q1 sales volumes, at least.  But it’s too early to talk about any recovery.  France and Germany are the engine of European growth and their performance, together with that of the UK, will determine whether we’ll see any sort of decent growth across Europe.”

Notes:

Unit Value Change = the change in the price paid by a shopper for a unit (item), as a result of price inflation, and/or the shopper substituting a unit of one value for a unit of a different value.

Nominal Value Growth (or the change in takings at the tills) = Unit Value Change + Volume Change

About the Nielsen Growth Reporter

The Nielsen Growth Reporter compares overall market dynamics (value and unit growth) in the FMCG sector across Europe. It is based on the sales measurement that Nielsen performs in 21 European markets, and covers sales in grocery, hypermarket, supermarket, discount and convenience channels. It’s based on the widest possible basket of product categories that are continuously measured by Nielsen in each of these countries and channels.

About Nielsen

Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.

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Alex Burmaster
Meteor Public Relations
Tel: 020 3544 3570
Mob: 0780 313 1144
alex@meteorpublicrelations.com

Neil Beston
PR Director, UK & Europe
Nielsen
Tel: 020 3103 3959
Mob: 07770 644136
neil.beston@nielsen.com